Today’s Headlines: Strep Throat, Malaria and Gender X

Two questions may rule out strep throat: Figuring out if your sore throat could be strep throat might soon be easier with the help of a simple app. The app would combine localized information about cases of strep throat in the person’s vicinity with two questions: “Do you have a cough, and have you had a fever in the last 24 hours?” Cough is not usually seen with strep, while fever is. The study of the new test showed that it “ruled out cases of strep throat nearly as well as lab tests did.” The researchers hope that “if the new test was widely used, it could save hundreds of thousands of unnecessary trips to the doctor each year and cut down on the overprescribing of antibiotics.” (U.S. News & World Report)

CDC: Malaria case toll in U.S. highest in 40 years: “The number of malaria cases in the United States is the highest in more than 40 years, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Data from 2011 shows there were 1,925 reported cases in the country – up 14% from 2010. However, almost all Americans “acquired the disease while traveling in another country.” Most caught the disease in Africa, but “India had the most imported cases of any single country.” (CBS News)

Germany allows ‘indeterminate’ gender at birth: In Germany, parents will now be allowed to “leave the gender blank on birth certificates, in effect creating a new category of ‘indeterminate sex.'” This makes Germany the first country in Europe to “allow babies with characteristics of both sexes to be registered as neither male nor female.” Supporters of the new law hope it will put less pressure on parents to make a rushed decision about sex assignment surgery for their babies. “As many as one in 2,000 people have characteristics of both sexes.” (BBC News